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Gonzales Changes Plea To Guilty

A man involved in a high speed chase between Wolf Point and Poplar during September changed his plea in district court Tuesday, Jan. 23. As part of a plea agreement, Raul Hernandez Gonzales made guilty pleas to the charges of criminal endangerment, fleeing or eluding a peace officer and obstructing a peace officer.

According to court documents, a traffic stop took place in Poplar regarding a vehicle with Arizona license plates on Sept. 11, 2023.

The vehicle with the suspect then took off on a high rate of speed traveling south on Sixth Avenue East in Poplar. BIA and Fort Peck Tribes Department of Law and Justice officers chased the vehicle.

The vehicle was traveling at speeds of more than 70 miles per hour and overtaking other vehicles in an unsafe manner. The vehicle didn’t slow down or yield for any stop signs near Poplar Public Schools.

The fleeing suspect vehicle was continuing to drive in and out of the east and west bound lanes of traffic causing vehicles to go into the ditch to avoid collision. The suspect continued to drive east on Highway 2 with speeds in excess of 100 mph. The vehicle ended at a dead end street in Poplar. The driver abandoned the vehicle and fled on foot going toward the Poplar River. He tried to hide in bushes, but officers located the suspect.

Judge David Cybulski ordered a pre-sentencing investigation for Gonzales.

In other cases: * Joshua Kyle Burks appeared for a petition to revoke hearing. His attorney, Shannon Sweeney, requested that Cybulski reinstate Burks’ bond with the same conditions. She noted that she didn’t see a verified petition to revoke and was unclear of the terms of a search.

Deputy county attorney Thomas Bleicher noted Burks has showed an inability to stay out of trouble. Bleicher was opposed to releasing Burks on bond, but he added that bond shouldn’t be reduced lower than $45,000.

Sweney said that Burks is interested in attending treatment court in Richland County to improve his life.

Cybulski ruled to reduce Burks’ bond to $30,000.

* Wyatt Blaine Bergie Sr. admitted violations to his probation. The violations included having a blood alcohol content, open container violation and being terminated by a drug treatment court. The recommendation from a probation officer was for Bergie to be sentenced for five years with the Department of Corrections with two years suspended. He has been pre-approved for a treatment program.

The probation officer reported that Bergie’s time in treatment court has included 20 sanctions, 74 positive drug screenings and two days in jail. Bergie’s attorney, Joseph Gorman, asked that Bergie received some days credit for treatment court.

“For the most part, the program was a failure,” Bleicher said of Bergie’s commitment to treatment court.

Bergie noted that he was able to stay sober for 150 days. Cybulski sentenced Bergie for five years with two years suspended. The judge gave Bergie credit for the 150 days that he stayed sober along with 26 days in jail.

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